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Are you depressed? Google it

Are you depressed? Google it

Google has noticed this, and soon, users who search for "depression" will be prompted to take a questionnaire assessing whether they may be impacted by the mental illness.

Now limited to US users, searches containing "clinical depression" will lead Google to offer a "Check if you're clinically depressed" option in the search results.

In a partnership between Google and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), American Google users who search for "clinical depression" on tablets and smartphones will receive a five-minute quiz that checks for clinical depression in the user. You'll see the option under the knowledge panel ("Check if you're clinically depressed"). The clinically validated test, called PHQ-9, asks about energy, appetite and concentration levels, among other things. But only 50% of people who have clinical depression get a suitable treatment for it. Estimates also suggest that people with depression experience delays of up to 8 years in receiving treatment, after the onset of symptoms. However, it could encourage people to recognize symptoms and access local resources. "The PHQ-9 can be the first step to getting a proper diagnosis", Giliberti added.

Google says the information will not be recorded or shared, but users can use it to start a conversation with a doctor. Young women and girls are most likely to struggle with depression. Harvard researcher Andrew G. Reece and Christopher M. Danforth of the University of Vermont even co-authored a study that proved analyzing Instagram posts can help identify undiagnosed cases of clinical depression.




Google can tell you pretty much anything you want to know.

The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 is a series of nine questions about the subject's mental health.

What makes the PHQ-9 such an attractive tool is that not only is it simple and accurate, but it can be administered several times in order to see whether someone's depression after receiving treatment has improved or worsened.

While the test is not available north of the border, the Canadian Mental Health Association offers an online "Mental Health Meter."

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